Have you been to Williamsburg before? What was your favorite part? Do you have any other tips to share?
Don and I were lucky enough to be able to visit Williamsburg while we were in Virginia recently. If you've never been to Williamsburg before, it's a fantastic place! It's basically a living history town with people dressed in period clothing that actually work as artisans using real 18th century tools and techniques. The first time I went there I was a young teenager and it left a wonderful impression on me even at that age. Being able to see people work and play as they would have back in the 1770's is something you just never forget. As you wander through the town you'll immerse yourself into life as it was in the 1770's, as the townsfolk go about their business of performing their everyday tasks. You may even get to witness exchanges between them, speaking in the language that was spoken during that time.
One of my favorite places there is a bakery that use to make the most wonderful gingerbread cookies that you could smell before even setting your eyes on it. Nowadays, the bakery is still there, but they don't make fresh cookies on the premises any longer. You can still go into the bakery and get pre-baked and packaged cookies to snack on, and now they have sandwiches and drinks that you can pick up to have lunch. Even though I didn't get to smell that wonderful gingerbread aroma, it was still pretty neat getting to go into the bakery and seeing it as it would have been so many years ago.
Many of the buildings are living museums that you can go through and experience what it was like to live or work there You get to meet the local townspeople, everyone from shopkeepers to political figures of the time, where they share the details and the history of the building and everything inside. To say it is an unbelievable experience is an understatement. For people who have a difficult time learning about history, this is a perfect way to see history in motion and really understand what conditions were like so long ago. You'll get to experience dining in a colonial tavern and eating food that would have been prepared at that time, see horse and carriages transporting people from one spot to another, and shop for period souvenirs to take back home with you.
Visiting Williamsburg is best experienced over several days if you want to be able to take in all of the tours, view each of the museums, and just take your time exploring. I will say that if you have difficulties with walking you may have a little difficulty. The streets are pretty smooth and well taken care of....I should say except for the horse manure that dots the street, but between the street and sidewalk it is lined with pebbles, and cobblestone sidewalks can make it slightly difficult, but not impossible.
In all of the information I saw prior to going to Williamsburg this time, I saw alot of information saying there were tickets needed to be able to enjoy your visit. Having been there before and knowing a little bit about it already, we took our chances that things had not changed that much and we were correct. There is not an admission fee to just walk around the town, however, if you want to be able to get into the museums you will have to buy tickets. There is still alot to see and do without having to spend the money if you are on a tight budget. You will also find plenty of shopping opportunities, as well as eateries that will satisfy any appetite and budget. Yes, I would have liked to go into some of the buildings this time, but I definitely feel that we were able to enjoy it just as much without buying tickets, especially since we were only there for the afternoon
For more information about the area and maps to plan out your visit I would suggest starting at this website http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/ . No matter what your budget is like or how much time you have to spend, you won't regret going to Williamsburg at least one time in your life.
Have you been to Williamsburg before? What was your favorite part? Do you have any other tips to share?
Driving in to Virginia Beach had me wondering if I was at the same beach I visited all those years ago. Hotels lined the beachfront for miles, as well as mile after mile of restaurants from pizza and ice cream all the way to expensive seafood places. There were storefront after storefront of beach souvenirs and specialty shops carrying just about anything you needed while you were there as well as tons of souvenirs to pick up for loved ones and friends back home.
Virginia Beach is unlike most beaches I've been to where there is a wooden boardwalk filled with families and groups looking to entertain themselves for the day. There is a "boardwalk", but it's more like a very wide sidewalk separating the beach from all of the hotels. Strolling along the "boardwalk" you'll see many families enjoying a ride in a bicycle carriage that they rented along the way, or riding their own bicycles, or just walking together and admiring the ocean. Being so close to NAS Oceana you'll see and hear jets taking off and flying over the Atlantic. If you have young children you will find play structures on the beach to let your young ones burn off a little bit of energy, and you'll find benches all along the path to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds. Restrooms are strategically placed so that you don't have to walk more than a few blocks to find one. In many spots flowers and ornamental grasses have been planted to add splashes of color and beauty. Our favorite spot was in one area near a permanent stage that has been set up for concerts throughout the summer, where rocking chairs sit near the flowers so that you can enjoy a comfortable place to rest like no other. The "boardwalk" didn't change at all since I had been there as a teen, but pretty much everything else had!
Really, what I think I liked most about our visit to Virginia Beach was getting to see the grown up version of it and see it flourish. I've been to many many beaches over the years and although I live close enough to many of the country's, if not the world's beaches, Virginia Beach still ranks as one of my favorites. The residents of the area take great pride in welcoming visitors to their clean, well thought out town, and you can tell that visitors appreciate having somewhere nice to bring their families.
If you would like more information about where to stay, or what else is in the area, visit the website http://www.vabeach.com/ and that will help you get started in finding out everything you need to know before traveling.
Have you been to Virginia Beach before? If so, how long has it been since you've been there and what did you like most about this beach?
On a recent road trip to visit family, we made a decision to stop at several well known destinations on our travels back home. At the last minute, we decided one of those stops would be Charleston, SC. Before that trip a friend of mine was telling me about Charleston and what a beautiful place it was, and we decided that if we were going to be anywhere near it at some point we would stop and see what it was like.
The drive south along hwy 17 was pretty rural in alot of areas, but as we got closer to Charleston we could see that we were entering an area much different than we were use to. As we reached the city limits the buildings changed to a more modern, but definitely southern, feel. They took great care in preserving that southern charm by putting flowers and foliage everywhere, while making sure modern conveniences were nearby. We stopped for lunch before heading into the historic district and that was our first taste of southern hospitality. After finishing lunch we decided we would head to the Holiday Inn Charleston-Riverview first and find out if it was possible to check in early even though it was barely 1pm. The hotel staff was very gracious to allow us check in, and informed us that they had a shuttle available to go over to the historic district, as well as provided us with maps of the area.
Once we got settled into our room, we went downstairs to wait for the shuttle. The shuttle driver was very professional and gave us information about what we were seeing along the way. It only took about 10 minutes of driving to reach the historic area of Charleston and to feel like we had stepped back in time. Once the shuttle arrived at the stop we wanted, we got off and started our day of taking in as much as we could during the short time we would be there.
One of the first things we saw was a horse and buggy taking visitors around town. After walking a bit we decided that to get the most out of our visit we would find where the horse and buggys were and see if we could get on one. It didn't take long to find where all of the horse and buggys originated from. We bought our tickets for $23 per person and waited for our allotted time. Meanwhile, just down the street was Old City Market with all of the souvenirs you could ever want to take home. This market was several open sided buildings in a row full of vendors selling everything from t-shirts to local handmade baskets. It was fun to peruse the booths looking at the local spices, arts and crafts, and jewelry that had that definite southern flair.
We didn't get enough time to spend in the Old City Market before we had to get back for our horse and buggy tour. It turned out, though, that the $46 we spent for tour tickets was some of the best money we spent there. As we waited our turn, we watched as other families took their place on the 20 person buggy. Jake was the beautiful horse that would be pulling us around town and he waited patiently until the last people got settled into the back seat, and then we were off to experience the city.
Our ride around town started with a visit to a guard shack. Why, you ask? The city puts a limit on how many carriages can be in any one part of the city at any time, so in order to control that, each horse and buggy stops at the guard shack and checks in, and is told which tour route they are to take. Not only does it keep each route from getting too much traffic at one time, the routes that are more residential aren't allowed after 6pm so this keeps those routes under strict control.
The rest of the hour long tour was a leisurely ride back in time through the narrow streets and beautiful buildings and homes of days long gone. As the tour guide gave us the history of the area and of each historic piece of architecture it was easy to put yourelf there during the time when the city was being built. After the tour we decided to walk a bit and find the homes in Rainbow Row which have been a fixture of Charleston for many years.
If you've not been to Charleston and love history, it is definitely some place you should visit. Even if you're not so much into history, there is so much to do there. Whether you want to take in an afternoon of shopping or celebrate a special day in one of the local restaurants, you will enjoy any time you spend there. If you happen to be into photography like I am, filling up a memory card in your camera will not be hard to do.
So, would I go back again? Absolutely! I would love to go for a few days or long weekend, to have time to explore some more and wander through all of the shops. There was so much we didn't gt to see and learn about, but that is what will make going back even more fun!
If Charleston, SC is on your list of places to visit, you can find it along the Atlantic Coast just north of the Georgia border. If you go during the summer months, be prepared for warm temperatures and high humidity, just like you would expect in the old south. Getting around isn't difficult, but you may have a little trouble finding parking. If you stay in a nearby hotel, see if they provide shuttle service to the historic district and back again, then you won't have to concern yourself with parking at all. Another tip that I will give in all of my road trip travels.....if you book a hotel room and you happen to get into town a couple of hours early, don't be afraid to go to the hotel and see if they will allow you to check in early. In all of the hotels we booked for our trip, all of them allowed us to check in an hour or two early, with the exception of one that wasn't ready for us, but at the very least you will be allowed to use the hotel facilities and it will give you time to unwind and make a plan for your stay. For more information on places to stay and additional information about the area you can go to the website http://www.charlestoncvb.com/ and it will help you prepare.
Have you been to Charleston, SC before? If so, tell me what you like the most, and give us tips on what not to miss next time!
"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." Jawaharal Nehru
My early memories of traveling are when I was young and my parents would take us on road trips to visit family. We lived in Virginia at the time and the rest of our family lived in Massachusetts and upstate New York, so road trips took hours and hours. I remembering being in awe of how different each state was, and how different towns were compared to where I lived. I use to play a game, where I imagined the people that lived in the homes we passed, wondering if their lives were anything like the life I lived. And then we would pass through big cities like New York, and it was so different than what I was use to and I couldn't imagine what it was like to live there. I would wonder how the people that lived and worked there got around, where the kids played, and how they went grocery shopping. It was during those trips when I was younger, that I realized that not everyone had the same type of life I had.
I enjoyed those trips so much when I was younger that anytime I was able to go somewhere away from where I lived, even if just for a day, piqued my interest. After my parents divorced, my dad would take us on day trips to visit historical sights, or go to arts and crafts festivals in towns a few hours away and I loved it! Even now, I love to go anyplace of historical value, and learn about life as it was. These trips with my dad have fueled my desire to explore different areas, even ones not so far away. When I graduated from school, it didn't take long before I started traveling and moving all around the country. After I started having children of my own, I enjoyed taking them places that were new to them, and nowadays Don and I find exploring together something fun to do.
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." Saint Augustine
As technology has increased, so has the ability to travel. It use to be that when children grew up, they stayed relatively close to the family home, but these days, with businesses being national or even international, the need for finding a job sometimes brings people to areas far from home. I've even seen people move to different countries, just because they want to experience a new culture. Anything is possible in the age of technology.
In the words of Saint Augustine, there is so much to learn from each culture of people around the world. Even in different cities or states around our own country there is quite a diversity that allows each of us to learn something new from each other that we could never learn if we didn't travel. Seeing how other people live can also give you a great appreciation for what you have since it's hard to be unhappy with the things you have when you see so many other people around the world living in much worse conditions than your own.
For anyone who may have not had the chance to travel yet, an adventure is waiting for you just a car, train, plane, or boat ride away!
Do you remember the first time you got to travel? When was it, and where did you go? Share your experiences below......
Swaying palm trees, gentle waves lapping the shoreline of sugar soft sand beaches, cotton candy colored houses lining the streets, the sun kissing your cheeks as you listen to music that transports you to another kind of life. Can you picture it? What kind of feeling do those descriptions give you? Probably something a little different than where you are right now I would imagine. Close your eyes and imagine what it would be like to be there, right now.
Don and I are lucky enough to live with my two youngest children near some of the most beautiful Islands in the world. When family comes to visit one of the first things they want to do is go to the beach, and we happily take them. Who can resist the charms of island life? We have several islands within a relatively short distance from us, all along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island.....the list goes on. One of the things I really love is that each Island has it's own personality, so you get to choose what kind of experience you have.
If you've ever been to an island, you know what I'm talking about. You become instantly transported into a life completely different than any life you've ever experienced. Time instantly slows down, your mind empties of all the everyday things we all deal with, and somehow you just feel a little bit lighter. Your senses are hightened with all of the colors, and sounds around you. You decide that you want to explore a little bit of what the island is like so you drive through "town" and see plenty of little shops along the way with one of a kind treasures to take home to remind you of the day you spent there. Then you decide you want to explore the beaches. The sand....how do I describe the sand? The only way to describe it is a mini vacation for your feet! Sugar soft sand the color of snow, cool to your feet even on the hottest day. The water....crystal clear blue/green water gently crashing against the shoreline, begging you to come in and enjoy what so many people come here for. If you're really lucky, maybe a Manatee or a Dolphin will swim by for your pleasure. In a little while you get hungry, and you decide you want seafood at one of the local restaurants overlooking the water. They have music playing that reminds you a bit of Jimmy Buffet, and you just can't help but be so completely relaxed and happy, that you wonder why on earth it took you so long to get there. Just thinking about it takes me right back to my favorite island every single time.
You're probably wondering where these beautiful islands are so that you can come and experience for yourself, right? Anna Maria island is one of my favorites and compares most closesly to what i have described above. It's just south of St. Petersburg, and approximately 10 miles west of Interstate 75. From Anna Maria island you can drive straight through, down through Longboat Key, and to Siesta Key in Sarasota. If you go to St. Pete Beach you can drive all the way along the beaches to Clearwater.
My favorite times of the year to visit the beaches are in the Spring and Fall. The weather is usually warm but not humid, little rain chances, and although the water may be cool, the beach itself is just perfect! If you come in the summer it's very hot and humid, and the water is warmer so you are able to go swimming, but the sun is intensely hot so it's difficult to spend a lot of time outside. Winter depends on the year so you'll have to research the weather before you come, but this would be a great time to visit all of those little shops to find just the perfect treasure to take home for yourself or a gift for someone else.
No matter what time of year you go, there is something special to visiting the islands, listening to the waves putting your toes in the sand, walking along the beaches. The slower pace will instantly melt all of your troubles away, and the easy trip to get there will have you coming back again and again to enjoy everything they have to offer.The drive is easy, since it's a straight shot from the interstate to Anna maria Island, or if you fly into Tampa or Sarasota you won't have to travel far to get there. Go for a day, a weekend, or a week, and no matter how much time you spend there you won't be disappointed!!